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Russian Navy: 18th cent. flags

Last modified: 2014-05-04 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: navy | ensign | jack | fortress flag | pennant | first commander | broad pennant |
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Introduction

The Order of St. Andrew, instituted by Tsar Peter I in 1699 to honor the patron of Russia was reflected in numerous flags apparently designed by the Tsar himself. The two bottom flags in the manuscript print (left [in the book]) date from that year. The blue saltire on white of both is the reverse of the Scottish version of the St. Andrew’s cross. The Russian jack shows this saltire against a red field bearing a white cross: the resemblance to the British Union Jack may have been intentional.
Wayne J. Lovett, 24 Aug 2000, quoting from [smi75c]


Ensign (1710-1712)

1710 ensign
image by Yosef Obskura and Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999

Stern flag [i.e. ensign] (1710-1712)
Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999, quoting from Flag-znamya korablya, Russian Navy website, consulted 07 Mar 1999


Ensign (1712-1917)

1712 ensign
image by Yosef Obskura and Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999

Stern Andrew’s flag [i.e. St. Andrew’s ensign] (1712-1917), (1992-today)
Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999, quoting from Flag-znamya korablya, Russian Navy website, consulted 07 Mar 1999

According to [zig94], both flags [ensign and jack] were drawn by Peter the Great:

«The military poop flag is white, with a full-sized blue cross of St.Andrew, because the Christianity became to Russian people from this apostle», explained Peter the Great in 1712.
Giuseppe Bottasini

Symbolism of Andreevsky Flag was also Peter’s contribution to his father — tsar Alexei Mikhailovich who instituted the special flag - dark red two-headed eagle on white-blue-red cloth — for the first military Russian vessel — three-mast galiot Eagle.
Edward Mooney, 14 Mar 1999, quoting from Russian Navy website

Since the Treaty of Kioutsouk Kainartzi in 1774, Greek merchant vessels could (and did almost to the exclusion of any other flag until 1821) use the Russian naval ensign (St. Andrew’s cross). They even continued so throughout the XIXth century when in Turkish waters.
Constantine Plakidas, 16 April 2003


Jack and fortress flag (1700-1917)

Jack and fortress flag (1700-1917)
image by Yosef Obskura and Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999

Jack and fortress flag (1700-1917), (1992-today)
Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999, quoting from Flag-znamya korablya, Russian Navy website, consulted 07 Mar 1999

Like the UK’s Union Jack incorporates the red St. George’s cross of England as the central figure, the Russian jack uses their blue St. Andrew’s cross (from the naval ensign) as its central figure. St. Andrew is also the patron saint of Russia.
David Lewellen

This flag was hoisted since 1701 on the navy’s fortresses, since 1720 on bowsprits too. It was a red flag crossed by a narrow white cross; over all there was a white-bordered blue St.Andrew cross. It was drawn by Peter the Great. It was named Kejzer-flag, i.e. "imperial flag". It was clearly based on the British "Union" and put together the white cross of an old Dragons’ flag with the navy’s St.Andrew flag. The KEJZER-FLAG was so popular that it was also used on the Soviet Navy till 1924.
Giuseppe Bottasini, quoting [zig94]

According to many authors the meaning of the red field is obscure, but to Ziggioto is clear: it was the third national color.
Giuseppe Bottasini


Pennant (1732-1765 and 1797-1865)

1732 red pennant
image by Yosef Obskura and Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999

Pennant (1732-1765 and 1797-1865)
Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999, quoting from Flag-znamya korablya, Russian Navy website, consulted 07 Mar 1999


Pennant (1732-1865 and 1865-1917)

1732 white pennant
image by Yosef Obskura and Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999

Pennant (1732-1865 and 1865-1917)
Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999, quoting from Flag-znamya korablya, Russian Navy website, consulted 07 Mar 1999


Pennant (1743-1865)

1743 blue pennant
image by Yosef Obskura and Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999

Pennant (1743-1865)
Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999, quoting from Flag-znamya korablya, Russian Navy website, consulted 07 Mar 1999


Broad-pennant of the first commander

Broad-pennant of the first commander
image by Yosef Obskura and Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999

Broad-pennant of the first commander [?]
Željko Heimer, 06 Apr 1999, quoting from Flag-znamya korablya, Russian Navy website, consulted 07 Mar 1999